CHOICE membership

Non standard clothing sizes



Today, I walked into K-Mart and purchased three pairs of jeans. All three were tagged with the same size, description and price. The only difference visually was the colour of the material used for each one. When I got them home however, I discovered that one fitted me perfectly, one was extra tight around the legs and wouldn’t go around my waist, making it impossible to button up, let alone zip the fly up, and the other one was fine in the leg area but also wouldn’t fit around my waist. All of the trousers I already own are this size and fit perfectly.

The Mrs. also purchased some tops while she was there today and knows that sizes are never consistent from one brand to the next. She tried on some tops based on how they looked when she held them up in front of her to guestimate the actual size first. Of the tops she was looking at, there were three size 18s and 2 size 22s. One of the 22s was too small, while the other fitted perfectly, as did two of the 18s, yet the third 18 was too big.

I read online a while ago that there are currently no standards or regulations when it comes to clothing sizes in Australia, and clothing manufacturers are free to add whatever size number they like to their products. It’s the same with shoes, jackets, trousers, shirts, etc. So while some brands try to have an unofficial standard set of sizes to stick to, others deliberately set sizes to be larger than what they really are, which usually means it costs more to purchase because the size number makes it a plus size, even if it isn’t really as big as they claim, while other brands set sizes to be smaller than what they really are in order to make the customer think they’re wearing something smaller, because some people like to think they’ve lost a size or two, so naturally they’ll choose something that says they’ve gone down a size if the “smaller” choice fits. Unfortunately, sometimes the only thing that is smaller is the size number itself.

It would be nice if there was a national standard for all clothing sizes in Australia that clothing manufacturers were required to adhere to when adding sizing labels to their products. It’s very difficult to find clothes that fit nowadays no matter what the label says on the things.


Hi Vince

A very similar problem was raised in


It is actually worse than that. I have found the same label and same size of the same product can be different depending on the factory where they were made!


Yes, I’ve been aware of the differences with the sizes of women’s clothes for quite some time due to complaints from my partner over the years about this exact same issue. This is the first time I’ve seen the problem when shopping for men’s clothing though. :slight_smile:


I am amazed you haven’t encountered the discrepancies before.

For a long time, I have not bought clothing or shoes without first trying them on for fit, because sizing is so inconsistent.

This is why I don’t buy clothing on-line.

Men's underwear

@NubglummerySnr, it’s a real stitch up if you ask me (sorry, couldn’t resist). While I can’t prove it, I would guess that in some cases the marketing department may even get involved at some point.

CHOICE called for a national sizing survey late last year to address the issue. I might be wrong, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time the organisation is motivated to get involved in the issue.


Just sizing up the situation here ( I too could not resist that )I have sometime s purchased 4 tops at a time from K Mart , Target or Big W and had to return at least 2 . I take an M in men’s sizes and even though they were marked M they were way too small for me .


:grin::grin: nice one


I have noticed that over the past few years my top size in most cases has gone from an L to a whopping XXXL and I haven’t really changed my physical size in all that time. at least not to that degree. So clothes can be more expensive for me now depending on where I shop if it’s a place that has higher prices for the larger sizes. It really does make me feel as if I’ve packed on a lot of weight over the years, when I’ve actually been either maintaining it or occasionally losing a bit of it. I still have some jumpers from years ago that are labelled as an L and they still fit perfectly, If I was to try on a new L today however I’d look like this:


The daffy pic gave me a chuckle :smile:

I’ve had the same thing with pants @NubglummerySnr. Maybe it’s meant to be the style (?), but somehow it always just ends up like this:


I gave up on Kmart clothes ages ago. No two items shown as the same size on the garment are correct. Whats more they are now trying to keep the manufacturing costs down even more by using less material in the garment.

Short sleeves meant that the sleeve came down nearly to the elbow. Now the sleeve is so short its just below the shoulder.

I now do my shopping for quality men’s garments at Loews. Pay a little bit extra, but the sizes are correct and they fit your body as they should.

Kmart is getting the reputation for “cheap and nasty”.


I used to get lots of clothes from Lowes, but the last couple of batches of Jeans I purchased from them were all different sizes as well, even though they had the same size ticket and brand label and were all purchased on the same day from the same table. Out of 5 pairs of jeans, only 2 of them fitted while 1 was too big and the other 2 were cut so low in the waist they didn’t even attempt to cover up the bits that only plumbers dare to show, even whilst standing up.


My advice to you, gained from experience, is to never buy anything until you’ve tried it on first. People in Asian countries think we are the same size as them. Very annoying.


All the complaints about clothes and shoes being labelled with sizes they do not match is true. But these items are made in different countries, often where quality control is not considered essential. But that also means buying these from overseas on the internet presents a problem that people seem to forget. Items may be cheaper, but there is no guarantee what you buy is actually the size you want, despite the labeling.


I too have been complaining loudly about this issue. 10 years ago I mostly shopped at Target as their quality and fit was excellent. I now don’t buy women’s clothes there at all. I have old jeans at size 16 that fit perfectly but now have to buy a 20 and they don’t fit as well. The shape of the clothes has also changed in that garments are straight up and down with no shaping for hips. This means that in tops if you fit the hip then the shoulders hang off as they are too wide. In pants I find the hip fits but the waist is far too big. I feel strongly that it’s because most clothing is now made in Asia where the women don’t have the same shape as westerners. It’s also very difficult when you live in a rural area with limited shops and choice. If you are lucky enough to find something that actually fits then every second person is wearing the same garment. I now don’t buy in my local town at all - I wait till I go to the city (over 2 hrs away). Very frustrating!!


I think another reason @dutkic is that they can produce more garments per hour by not having to shape them to your figure, which as you rightly point out being female, is more " hour glass " in shape . Having to shape a garment , whether it be jeans or a top , would slow up production . When it all boils down it cutting production costs to make more dollars seems to win out every time .


I recently bought an R M Williams shirt, which fitted fine, except that I could not raise my elbows above my shoulders because there was insufficient slack in the armpit gussets. The printed-on label instead of a cloth label should have been a wake-up call.
Oh for the olden days pre-Whitlam (1972), before the floodgates opened, when a size 38 shirt was a 38 inch chest and a size 16 was a 16 inch neck. Plain numbers now don’t mean anything. I never could work out though, why some manufacturers used chest sizes and some used neck sizes. Maybe there is a correlation.
I seem to remember Target standardising sizes for their products before production went overseas. As we no longer have any clothing manufacturers worth mentioning, the retailers should be pressured into standardising sizes and demanding compliance from their Asian suppliers.


I think that the cause of muddled sizing is due to most of our clothing being made in Asia.


Spot on account of a clothes shop of today,especially in the larger stores,but my complaint to add is that in the larger sizes they also cut the neck lines wider causing them to fall off your shoulder or on bending over giving a view to your waist!! Also just because they come from Asia why do they think larger people have longer arms and if you are lucky enough to get the body fit passable you have the sleeves halfway down your hands,but sorry manufacturers arms don’t lengthen as girth may widen in mature age ,we are not orangutans.


@maryrivett I absolutely hear you. I hate the wide necklines and am sick of rolling up sleeves!